I am just back from Whidbey Island, where I spent a week writing in one of the most beautiful places on earth!
I came thisclose to finishing a draft of a new novel, and that made me very happy.
What makes me happy today was an email from the lovely Ms. Drake at Roy J Smith STEM Academy in Killeen, Texas, where I had the great good fortune to present writing workshop and author talks in early April, along with my friend PJ Hoover!
It was a glorious day, and they welcomed us so nicely…
I’ve been writing up a storm, taking a few breaks now and then for super fun things like school visits, workshops, and festivals. And now, if you live in the Dallas area, I might get to take a break to see YOU!
On Saturday, March 9, 2019, at 10 a.m., I will be at the Lake Dallas Public Library along with renowned poet/author/editor/activist ire’ne lara silva, as a part of the Writers’ League of Texas’ Texas Writes program.
Join us for a morning of discussion, writing exercises, book talking, and cookies. I’d love to see you there.
Happy 2019, writer and reader friends! I hope your year is full of books… and maybe even a few short films. 🙂
Once again, I have the great pleasure of co-hosting the annual 90-Second Newbery Film Festival in San Antonio, alongside the funny and talented James Kennedy (author of The Order of Odd-Fish). We sing, we dance, we make terrible jokes and have altogether too much fun. This year, the shindig is on February 9, 2-3:30 pm at the Witte Museum!
If you are from the San Antonio area, or know folks who are, you don’t want to miss this! Kids read Newbery award and honor books, write and produce short films that are hilarious/spooky/heartwarming/silly, and the best of the best are chosen to win prizes for their schools and libraries, courtesy of HEB.
Come to the film festival! Say hi to me and James and meet tomorrow’s famous Hollywood directors.
Join Kat and me for a writing and craft-filled workshop sure to scare the stories out of you!
Are you a young writer (or know a young writer) in search of the perfect creepy tale to tell?
Join the amazing Kat Shepherd and me for a writing and craft-filled workshop sure to scare the stories out of you! There will be creepy snacks, lots of fun, and just the right amount of scare… go to Bookpeople’s event page to register.
I am excited about this weekend (September 28-30), since it means I’ll be in Houston at their amazing SCBWI conferenceteaching and learning and playing with all my big city writer friends. I’m giving a mini-workshop on writing unforgettable settings. In addition to talking about what I call Big Settings in Children’s Books (including, of course, Narnia, Hogwarts, Terabithia, and more), I’ll be bringing some newer books that treat setting in masterful and unique ways, including:
I hope to see you there! Keep writing – I sure have been. 🙂
I don’t know what it is about the area outside Santa Fe, but there’s something there – in the air, the land, the light – that inspires me. It’s inspired lots of other artists, too. In fact, Georgia O’Keeffe herself painted in the place where I wrote large portions of Wish Girl, Nightingale’s Nest, and the manuscript my lovely agent Ginger is sending around right now. (It’s hard to type with fingers crossed, you know.)
Double rainbow loveliness!
Before I leave, though, I’ll be serving on a panel at one of my all-time favorite writing conferences – the Writers’ League of Texas Agents and Editors Conference. I get to talk about how to prepare for publication day, and I think it will be a lot of fun and very helpful to authors approaching their debut pub date, as well as the newly agented or pre-published.
I hear the 2018 conference is sold out, but if you missed it don’t hesitate next year! It’s always a wonderful experience.
Keep writing, friends, and reading, and go somewhere that inspires you!
Hi, y’all! I’ve been away from the blog for a while, mostly working on a couple of new books, but also visiting some great schools and libraries. I had a wonderful time last weekend at the new Seguin High School library. They had their first ever Matador Book Festival, and I had the great honor of being the afternoon speaker. It was pretty much Saturday author perfection – a giant room filled with books, librarians, parents and young readers.
Here are a few pictures of the day, although you can see some more on Twitter if you’re curious!
Christy Holt, super librarian, gave me my own Matador Library t shirt! (And bought me the most amazing shrimp tacos. Mmmmm.)
How do you know a district has GREAT administrators? They show up on Saturday to read to the kids! Bravo to Superintendent Matt Gutierrez for showing your students they matter – and books are fun!
Games and a book fair…
… and a good friend from my Zumba teaching days was there with her daughter! What a gift.
Over the next month, I have a couple of deadlines to meet, more school visits/writing workshops to look forward to, and my son is graduating from high school, so… see you in the summer! I wish you warm days, lots of ideas, and the time to sit down and put them on the page…
This month has been so full… and starting in a week or so, it will be full of fun, writing things! And if you live in or near Corpus Christi or Yoakum, Texas, I’ll be in your neck of the woods soon, and we can do some of that writing together.
This month, I am delighted to be a part of the annual Teen Bookfest by the Bay festival taking place in Corpus Christi on February 17th. It will be at the American Bank Center from 9 am to 4:30 pm and it’s free.
There will be some of MY favorite authors there… maybe yours, too!
Then, the following Saturday morning, Feb. 24, I will have the great pleasure of presenting a writing talk/workshop for the Texas Writes series, hosted by the Writers’ League of Texas. Phenomenal author Christie Craig (or C. C. Hunter) will be there with me, and I know it will be fun! Here are the details:
Place: Carl & Mary Welhausen Library 10AM
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2018 | 810 FRONT STREET | YOAKUM, TX | 77995
FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC | Pre-registration Suggested (361) 293-5001 | Refreshments Provided
Hello, friends. I’ve neglected my blog terribly because I’ve been taking care of something–someone–else. I’ve neglected my writing as well… but I’ve gotten a lot better on the guitar, and my singing voice is back in form. (Did you know I was a singer? I majored in voice at UT Austin before the page called me away.)
I sang my grandma out on Wednesday night. The week before, I brought her balloons and blueberry muffins and flowers for her 98th birthday. We laughed and talked about the kids for hours, even though she wasn’t feeling well.
One week later, she was gone.
Grandma was my biggest fan, my confidant, and more like a twin to me than a grandmother. She loved me completely, and I loved her back the same way. I’m so glad I took the time this year to care for her.
What a gift.
When I knew she was passing soon, I realized I would be asked to write her obituary, Instead, I wrote this poem.
My grandma was
one more chocolate
a favorite hymn
a salty mouth
a sweet little voice
and a fierce love that
went around and around
her kitchen with
broken toes and a strong back
for thirteen years.
a hug a yardstick
a whole jar of divinity
underwear in the back bedroom
Spaghettios in the pantry
cookies and grits
vegetable soup and
laundry on the line
feeding the old people
a radio left on
and more. She was
a drive in the
violets and birdsong
Solo Serve shoes
a packed lunch at the movies
in a Jeep Collins bag
mischief in a laugh
and horseshit little Eva.
25 more kisses
than anyone else.
January 24, 1920
Oh, friends, this year has been… memorable, to say the very least. For me it’s been full of tragic lows (my father died) and incredible highs (I wrote another “book of my heart” and signed with my lovely new agent, Ginger Knowlton). It’s been a year of writing fearlessly and reading with abandon. I’ve read some of my favorite books ever in 2017–I hope you read a few of the lists or listened to the podcasts!
Honestly, when I watch the news I know I’m ready to say a final goodbye to 2017. Except…
He would kill me if he knew I posted this. But he never reads my blog. Isn’t this awesome??? My favorite picture of him.
my eldest is graduating from high school and going far away to college next fall, so I’m sort of clinging to every last day, all those moments with him that won’t come again.
My big boy now. <3
I wish you all a safe and happy holiday season, and a peace-filled and joy-filled new year. May you find yourself lifted up on the wings of glorious stories- whether they’re ones you are writing or reading – again and again as the days pass.
May you feel joy, and show love, and stop to listen to the wind in the grass and the dawn chorus and the peaceful sigh of a sleeping loved one.
Fill your days with beauty, and music, and magic, and love. I’ll try to do the same!